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Thursday, 31 July 1930

Senator McLACHLAN (South Australia) . - We have to study this clause from the view point expressed by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce). It is not a question, as the Minister said, of unsatisfactory draftsmanship, although I frankly admit that the drafting could have been improved. To some extent the Minister stands condemned for not having improved the wording of these provisions. I do not think that paragraphs k andl should be deleted. Paragraph k, which was quoted by the Leader of the Opposition, relates to the action of members or of a substantial number of members of an organization who have repeatedly or systematically committed offences against this act.

Senator Daly - Would the honorable senator favour the cancellation of the registration of a company because of the action of its directors?

Senator McLACHLAN - These organizations can be made corporate bodies with power to hold property, but the legislature has not been blind to that fact, as there is a safeguarding provision regarding the property of an organization. Under paragraph k, certain powers are conferred upon the Registrar, but the legislature decided that more specific powers should be provided as set out in paragraph We have an illustration of the necessity for this provision at the present juncture. An award has been made in a certain industry, and a substantial number of the members of the organization concerned are disregarding the direction of the controlling body by defying an award of the court. Surely the proper method to deal with such an organization is to deprive it of the benefits of arbitration by de-registration. If the executive of the organization is unable to discipline its members, or a substantial number of its members are breaking the award, the organization should be de-registered. I cannot see why any exception can reasonably be taken to these paragraphs. The Minister could have strengthened his argument if he had quoted paragraph c, which, if slightly amended, could be made more effective. Paragraph c reads -

If it appears to the court on the application of any organization or person interested or of the Registrar.

(c)   that the rules of a registered organization do not comply withthe prescribed conditions or have not bona fide been observed or are contrary to the terms of an order or award the court may, if in its discretion it thinks fit, order the registration of the organization to be cancelled, and thereupon it shall be cancelled accordingly.

Senator Sir George Pearce - Paragraphl relates to an organization about to be registered.

Senator McLACHLAN - That paragraph specifically relates to a refusal to comply with the statutory provisions in clause 55. As paragraph c is to be retained I cannot see why paragraphk andl should not also be retained. Paragraph seems to meet the hiatus which might occur in such a case as I have cited. The only organizations which have anything to fear from such a provision are those which are refractory and transgress the code of the arbitration law. Organizations which seek the benefits of arbitration legislation should be prepared to abide by the awards of the court. The Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Daly) appears to be unduly sensitive in this matter. I shall vote for the amendment by the Leader of the Opposition. '

SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [11.32]. - An unanswerable case has been made out for the rejection of the amendment. Seeing that in paragraph a there is power for the Registrar to cancel the registration of an organization for any purpose, no wider power is possible.I can understand that some honorable senators opposite are determined to retain in our legislation the obnoxious provisions which were placed there when the enemies of Labour were in power. When dealing with arbitration matters the late Government tried in every way to place insulting and repressive legislation on the statute-book. It did so in the most offensive manner possible. I have nothing but contempt for honorable senators who, at the beginning of this new Parliament, stated, as did the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce), that they recognized that the electors had given the Labour party amandate to amend the arbitration laws according to Labour ideals, and now demand that' the miserable repressive legislation of the Mussolini type should be retained. Senator McLachlan said that only refractory organizations need fear the retention of these provisions. I tell him that before long we shall deal with some of the reactionary and refractory politicians, and shall wipe out the whole of the obnoxious provisions which enable a limited governing class to impose its rotten ideas of legislation on a people allegedly free. We, on this side, are not greatly concerned about the particular provisions which honorable senators opposite seek to retain. I tell them to use their numbers as they will, for they will soon bite the dust for having opposed the will of the people. They will soon find that they will have to occupy a different position in the future.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Plain).I remind the honorable senator that the committee is dealing with a proposal to omit certain paragraphs.

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